Scientists Say Sentient Artificial Intelligence Will Likely Never Happen

Saturday, 09 April 2016 - 7:35PM
Artificial Intelligence
Saturday, 09 April 2016 - 7:35PM
Scientists Say Sentient Artificial Intelligence Will Likely Never Happen
Is the advancement of artificial intelligence coming to a standstill? AI has come so far in such a short period of time, many just assume that our robot overlords will be arriving in the near future. But according to several scientists at ECCC's Evolution of Technology and Sci-Fi panel, self-aware AI may be very, very far away, or may never happen at all.

The panelists, which included scientists from the fields of artificial intelligence, neuroscience, and biochemistry, asserted that, as a result of an influx of government funding and the nature of computing technology, AI has "advanced at a very quick rate over the last hundred years."

Opening quote
"Will advancement continue at the same rate? I don't think so."
Closing quote

Many cite Moore's Law, or the fact that the number of transistors have historically doubled within a dense integrated circuit every two years, as hard evidence that AI will continue to advance exponentially. But according to the panelists, Moore's "law" is a misnomer, as it's simply an "observation that we double the number of transistors every once in a while," but that trend is likely to slow down in the near future.

Opening quote
"There is strong evidence that we're reaching the limit… in the physical nature of the materials we manipulate to advance computation."
Closing quote

As a result, according to the panelists, the rumors of sentient AI have been greatly exaggerated. When asked how sci-fi movies have impacted the public's view of AI, 

Opening quote
"I think it set the bar way too high... I would argue that the reductionist construction of computers today will never lead to a sentient, self-aware machine. The computer may go off on its own, like Colossus, but that's because we programmed it to."
Closing quote
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